Local Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has criticised the Government over its failure to provide a definitive timeline for the construction of a new school build at St Molaga’s Senior National School, which is urgently required.
The Donabate based senator raised the matter directly with the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton during debate in Seanad Éireann.
Clifford-Lee said: “Since the year 2000, the school has been accommodated in 16 prefabs as a ‘temporary solution.’ Yet, 17 years on little or no progress has been made on upgrading the school building in order to meet rising demand as a result of demographic changes.
“Over half of St Molaga’s pupils are educated in unsuitable prefab classrooms and are expected to engage in learning in unsatisfactory conditions. Students and staff are isolated from the main school building and are also being forced to rely on substandard resources due to a lack of space.
“As it stands, there are 463 pupils and in order to support the school’s growing numbers, three extra classrooms and special education rooms are required. My party colleague Thomas Byrne TD, Fianna Fail spokesperson on Education and Science who visited the school, obtained new information, which shows that the construction of 21 new schools earmarked for 2015 is yet to get underway and in some instances a site hasn’t even been selected.
“This means that it will be years before they are actually up and running. My worry is that St Molaga’s could be pushed further down the line as a consequence. Minister Bruton needs to knuckle down and ensure a timeline for construction is drawn up and that development gets underway to put an end to the detrimental impact being endured by the school community in St Molaga’s.
“The Minister assures me that progress will be made on this before Christmas and that the Department will be in touch with the principal, Pauline Costello, soon in this regard.
“Our county is expanding fast and this Government must do more to realise that. I will keep the pressure on until we get a concrete timeline for these essential works to be carried out.”